Airplane Crash into Portage River
Updated: Oct 1
ERIE TOWNSHIP – The Ohio State Highway Patrol is investigating a minor injury plane crash that occurred on September 30, 2023, at approximately 4:13 P.M. The plane crashed into the Portage River near 4640 W. Harbor Rd in Ottawa County.
Pilot: James Raymond Lenardson, age 72, of Bonita Springs, Florida was operating a 2003 Cessna 206 seaplane. Mr. Lenardson sustained minor injuries as a result of the crash. He was transported by Port Clinton EMS to Magruder Hospital in Port Clinton, Ohio.
Passenger: Leo Joseph Eggert Jr, age 67, of Perrysburg, Ohio was a passenger in the plane. Mr. Eggert sustained minor injuries and was transported by Port Clinton EMS from the scene to Magruder Hospital in Port Clinton, Ohio.
Details of Crash: Mr. Lenardson was traveling eastbound on the Portage River attempting to take off. As Mr. Lenardson began his initial accent, he struck a power line. The plane lost control and crashed into the Portage River. Both Mr. Lenardson and Mr. Eggert were able to exit the plane as it began to sink. Mr. Lenardson and Mr. Eggert were able to get to shore. An Ohio Edison high voltage power line was knocked down with part laying in the river and another across a cottage at The Resort at Erie Landing. Ohio Edison responded to the scene to de-energize the power line. Rescue Marine was contacted to retrieve the plane from the river.
Alcohol and/or drug use are not believed to be a factor at this time. The crash remains under investigation.
The Ohio State Highway Patrol was assisted on the scene by the Ottawa County Sheriff’s Office, Erie Township Fire, Port Clinton EMS, Ohio Edison, FAA, and the NTSB.